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Photo by Johnny Zhang, IG:@jzsnapz

(December 22, 2020 6:00 PM) Former Spring Arbor University standout Nathan Martin made history on Sunday when he joined many of the top marathoners in the country on Sunday for The Marathon Project held in Chandler, Arizona.

Racing against an elite field of athletes, Martin finished the 26.2-mile race in ninth place with a time of 2:11:05. Not only was his time more than three minutes faster than he has ever posted, but it was the fastest time ever by a U.S. born, Black marathon runner, breaking a 41-year old record set by Herman Atkins (2:11:52) set in 1979.

Martin now ranks 49th overall on the all-time U.S.A. marathon list.

The Marathon Project was created to fill the void created by COVID-19, which caused the cancelation of four of the six major marathons, including those held in Boston, Berlin, Chicago and New York. The race’s field consisted of 88 invited men and women, including some of the top finishers from the 2020 Olympic Marathon Trials, which Martin also participated in back in February.

Martin, who also competed in the 2016 Olympic Marathon Trials in Los Angeles, is the most decorated athlete in the history of the Spring Arbor cross country and track & field programs. The Three Rivers, Michigan native captured three NAIA and six National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA) national titles, while also earning eight conference championships in track and one in cross country. During his senior year at the 2013 NAIA Outdoor Track & Field National Championships, he accomplished a rare feat, winning the national title in the 10,000 meters and the marathon within a 32-hour time period. His time of 2:19:18 in the marathon – which was the first marathon he had ever run – broke an NAIA record that had stood since 1985 and still stands to this day.

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